University of South Carolina student killed after accidentally trying to enter wrong house: police

Nicholas Anthony Donofrio lived on the same street where he was killed, police said.

ByBill Hutchinson ABCNews logo
Monday, August 28, 2023
College student killed after accidentally trying to enter wrong house
Nicholas Anthony Donofrio was identified as the University of South Carolina shot and killed after accidentally trying to enter the wrong house.

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A 20-year-old University of South Carolina student was fatally shot Saturday when he accidentally tried to enter the wrong house on the street where he lived and was mistaken for a burglar, according to police.

The student was identified as Nicholas Anthony Donofrio, according to the Richland County, South Carolina, Coroner's Office. Donofrio was from Connecticut and had just started his sophomore year last week at the university, school officials said.

Donofrio was shot to death early Saturday at a home several blocks from the University of South Carolina in southeast Columbia, the state capital, according to a statement from the Columbia Police Department.

The shooting unfolded just before 2 a.m. on the street where Donofrio lived, police said.

"Preliminary information indicates that Donofrio who resided on South Holly Street attempted to enter the wrong home when he was fatally shot," according to the police statement.

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Prior to the shooting, police were sent to the home to investigate a report of a burglary in progress, according to the statement.

"While en route, the emergency call for service was upgraded to a shots fired call," police said in the statement.

When officers arrived at the home, they found Donofrio dead on the front porch with a gunshot wound to his upper body, according to police.

The shooting remains under investigation. Police did not release the name of the person who shot Donofrio.

Investigators are consulting with the Fifth Circuit Solicitor's Office in Columbia regarding the circumstances of the case, according to the statement.

Classes for the fall semester at the University of South Carolina began on Thursday.

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"Our Student Affairs team is providing resources and support to those who may be affected by this tragedy, and we remind all of our students that help is always available to them," officials of the university said in a statement.

The shooting comes about four months after a similar shooting in Kansas City, Missouri. Ralph Yarl, 17, was shot in the head and arm on the evening of April 13 when he went to the wrong house to pick up his siblings, according to police.

Andrew Lester, the 84-year-old homeowner who shot Yarl, was arrested and charged with one count of felony assault in the first degree and one count of armed criminal action, also a felony. Lester pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on April 18 on a $200,000 bond.

According to a probable cause statement obtained by ABC News, Lester told police that he "believed someone was attempting to break into the house" and grabbed a gun before going to the door because he was scared. Lester, who is white, claimed that he saw a "Black male approximately 6 feet tall" pulling on the door handle and "shot twice within a few seconds of opening the door."